National Policy Statements
Commons Debate. 14 MPs voted against the designation of the Nuclear NPS: Caton, Martin, Durkan, Mark, Flynn, Paul, Goldsmith, Zac, Hancock, Mr Mike, Hopkins, Kelvin, Long, Naomi, Lucas, Caroline, McDonnell, John, Meacher, rh Mr Michael, Skinner, Mr Dennis, Smith, rh Mr Andrew, Williams, Hywel, Wood, Mike, Tellers for the Noes: Jeremy Corbyn and Mr Mike Weir
Hansard 18th July 2011 more >>
An anti-nuclear alliance has branded the governments decision to give the green light to a new generation of nuclear power stations as, grossly irresponsible. And the campaigners have vowed to step up plans for a mass blockade of Hinkley Point nuclear power station this autumn. Speaking as the House of Commons today debates the governments National Policy Statement on the construction of ten new nuclear power reactors, Nikki Clark, a spokesperson for Stop New Nuclear said: How can the government give the go-ahead for a new generation of reactors when it has failed to carry out a proper assessment of the health implications? How can the government allow the construction of new reactors when the designs have not been approved by the nuclear regulators?
Stop New Nuclear 18th July 2011 more >>
Electricity Market Reform
In the midst of Murdochgate, you’d have had to be wearing a pretty big anorak to have been excited by the government’s proposals for reform of the electricity market. But this announcement has huge implications for how Britain tackles climate change, and even wider significance for the political battle over economic policy. The problem the government needed to address was stark: how to get private-sector energy companies to invest £110bn over the next decade to replace a quarter of Britain’s power stations, while cutting the nation’s carbon emissions by a third, reducing dependence on imported gas and keeping energy bills low enough to prevent a consumer revolt. It was a problem the last Labour government realised could only be addressed by fundamental reform; it’s fallen to the coalition to implement it. And the results could not be more radical. The plans finally do away with the liberalised electricity market created by the Thatcher administration a quarter of a century ago. Labour has a difficult balancing act to play rightly articulating consumers’ concerns about rising prices, but broadly supportive of the new system. In fact, without Labour’s agreement the reforms cannot work. Only if investors know the plans have cross-party backing, and will therefore be long term, will they provide the funds. But Labour has a chance to go further. For the real prize is not just to install the new low-carbon energy systems, but also to make sure British-based firms become leaders in the technologies and services needed for them, so that the UK gets the maximum jobs and export benefit from the investment.
Guardian 18th July 2011 more >>
A DEFUELLING milestone was reached at Magnox Limited Chapelcross this week. It means than a third of the nuclear fuel rods from Chapelcross have now been safely shipped to the Sellafield Site in Cumbria for reprocessing. The former nuclear power station near Annan is in the process of being defuelled and decommissioned. And this week saw the milestone of the 100th flask containing nuclear fuel elements leave the site.
Dumfries & Galloway Standard 15th July 2011 more >>
A 16-piece tool dubbed the world’s most sophisticated Swiss Army knife is to help dismantle the Dounreay Fast Reactor (DFR) in Caithness. The device cost £20m to design and build and will operate in highly radioactive conditions inside Dounreay’s landmark Dome. Its detachable tool bits cost £100,000 each and weigh between 37-93kg. They will cut and grab 977 metal rods once used to “breed” plutonium from uranium. Measuring about 2.5m (8ft) in length, the rods resemble thin sections of scaffolding.
BBC 18th July 2011 more >>
Low Level Waste
A waste management company is preparing to begin disposal of low-level nuclear materials at a site in Northamptonshire despite a legal challenge. Augean hopes to begin operations at the King’s Cliffe site near Oundle before the end of the year. In May, the firm was given the go-ahead by a planning inspector and Communities Secretary Eric Pickles. Resident Louise Bowen-West is leading a legal challenge and said papers have already been lodged at the High Court. This step follows a campaign against the decision by local residents.
BBC 18th July 2011 more >>
The hunt has started to find a contractor to build a specialist construction college in Cumbria for the nuclear and wind farm industries. The Energy Coast Construction Skills Centre at Lillyhall aims to transform West Cumbria into a nationally important hub for low carbon and renewable energy generation. Its main task is to train the next generation of engineers and skilled workers for the proposed new nuclear power station near Sellafield and a host of wind farm projects.
Construction Enquirer 19th July 2011 more >>
As the crisis continues at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant and thousands of people remain evacuated due to radiation fears, public sentiment has turned against allowing reactors idled for regular checks at power stations nationwide to be restarted. To ease public safety concerns, the government has ordered stress tests be carried out on all reactors. And with Prime Minister Naoto Kan’s remarks last week that Japan should become a society that doesn’t rely on nuclear energy, the overall sentiment against atomic power is gaining traction. But if this is a goal, no timetable has been established for achieving it. The clock, however, is ticking on the 54 reactors nationwide, as their inspection shutdown dates approach. Concerns are rising over what would happen if reactors are offline for an extended period, and if there are other energy sources that can cover the loss. Following are questions and answers about the nation’s nuclear power program and how people’s lives would be affected if all reactors are halted.
Japan Times 19th July 2011 more >>
Naoto Kan’s dream of creating a society free of nuclear power appears destined to die when his reign as prime minister expires. No politician considered a possible successor is taking up Kan’s call to decommission all of Japan’s nuclear reactors. In fact, almost all prominent Cabinet ministers and executives of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan who have supported Kan appear reluctant to go along with his nuclear-free idea.
Asahi 19th July 2011 more >>
Fessenheim nuclear power station, whose twin reactors, reflected in the water’s still surface, are the oldest in France. French safety regulators have just recommended that one of the reactors can continue to operate for another decade, and a similar recommendation on the other is expected later in the year. On the other side of the Rhine is Germany, which decided earlier this year, in the wake of the Fukushima disaster in Japan, to phase out nuclear power within that same decade. German local authorities, and many citizens nearby, want Fessenheim closed too and are angry that they have no say in the matter, despite the fact that the station sits just 1.5km from their border. Switzerland, 40km further south, wants the same thing. Both see a future powered by Sun and wind, not the atom.
BBC 19th July 2011 more >>
The Obama administration is seeking to help Mongolia become a vast nuclear waste dump for commercial reactors in Japan, the United States, and the United Arab Emirates, according to a draft nuclear cooperation agreement obtained by Newsmax. The protocol, drafted by Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman in February and revised in May, also expresses the U.S. intent to facilitate commercial projects to develop Mongolias uranium deposits, to help the country become a fuel supplier to new nuclear power plants to be built in the UAE and elsewhere in the developing world.
Newsmax 18th July 2011 more >>
In 2008 the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), the apex body that controls global nuclear commerce, granted India a waiver on the transferal of sensitive nuclear technologies despite the fact that India is not a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), opened for signature in 1968. Even though India had not opened up all of its nuclear reactors for international scrutiny, the NSG waivers made India an exception, allowing New Delhi to buy nuclear power plants, equipment and technology on the international market, The Hindu Online reported. Now, as new NSG adopted last month guidelines propose that technology transfers be allowed only if the recipient state fulfils certain criteria, including NPT membership, Indias 2008 arrangement with the NSG could be at risk.
Oil Price 19th July 2011 more >>
The Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited has commenced work to construct the 700MW pressurised heavy water reactor (PHWR) at the Rajasthan atomic power station (RAPS) in Rajasthan, India.
Energy Business Review 18th July 2011 more >>
India’s southern state of Andhra Pradesh may have one of the largest reserves of uranium in the world, the country’s chief nuclear officer says. Studies show Tummalapalle in Kadapa district has a reserve of 150,000 tonnes of the mineral, Atomic Energy Commission chief S Banerjee said.
BBC 19th July 2011 more >>
Hitachi and Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy have been selected as the strategic investor by the Lithuanian ministry of energy for the construction of the Visaginas nuclear power plant (NPP) in Lithuania. The ministry and Hitachi plan to sign the concession agreement by the end of this year and complete the construction of the power plant by the end of 2020.
Energy Business Review 18th July 2011 more >>
The top U.S. nuclear chief wants to push ahead with sweeping regulatory changes for nuclear safety, cutting through the exhaustive technical reviews that typically make for more lengthy deliberations at his agency. Gregory Jaczko, chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said on Monday he wants the NRC to provide clear direction on changes warranted by Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi within 90 days, and for the regulator and the industry to have changes implemented within five years. That would be about half the time that the NRC and industry took to boost security after the Sept. 11 attacks, which was the last time the agency dealt with major changes to its rules.
Reuters 18th July 2011 more >>
The utility EnBW has announced that it will sue the German government over its unique nuclear fuel tax, while another nuclear utility is talking with Gazprom as a strategic partner for new power plants.
World Nuclear News 18th July 2011 more >>
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev goes to Germany to meet Chancellor Angela Merkel with a stronger hand than ever to win a long-held aim: closer access to consumers in the biggest market for Russian gas.
Reuters 18th July 2011 more >>
Some news from last week when we were on a reduced service.
Whether you deem the decision brave, stupid or absolutely necessary, the political will from the coalition to press ahead with a new nuclear energy programme is now sharply in focus. The UK government is moving the debate on and privately informing industry of the need to concentrate on overcoming the many obstacles to delivery, from capacity to capability. And its happening faster than anybody could have imagined, given the safety considerations and cross-party Whitehall sensitivities following the Fukushima disaster in Japan. While Germany, Italy, China and even Switzerland have taken the bold step to halt their new build nuclear energy programmes, the lessons for the UK appear to be just another layer of bureaucracy to be navigated, costed and overcome. While it may be pleasing to see the political obstacles being removed with every flick of energy secretary Chris Huhnes pen, in reality delivering this programme is still looking more than a little challenging for the people having to do it. The reports are right; there is a shortfall in capacity and capability, says Alan Cumming, EDFs nuclear new build boss. Were embarking on a journey but weve not packed our rucksacks yet. Somewhat of an understatement, you could say.
Building Magazine 8th July 2011 more >>
The Act also provides for challenges to be made to National Policy Statements (NPSs) within six weeks of their designation, so it will be interesting to see if any of the six energy NPSs are challenged before 30 August, being six weeks after the expected designation date of 19 July. I haven’t heard any rumours of upcoming challenges, but the chances of no challenges at all to the Nuclear Power NPS in particular would seem to be low. Now that Parliament (or rather just the Commons) is to approve NPSs, this power is arguably no longer necessary, and amendments have been tabled to the Localism Bill to remove references to JR of NPSs from the Planning Act.
Bircham Dyson Bell 12th July 2011 more >>
The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) and Environment Agency have completed their initial assessment of the designs for the two proposed new reactors and have published a list of the issues that still need resolving. For both designs the regulators are confident that industry can produce credible plans for resolving all of the issues, and, with the exception of those relating to the lessons learnt from Fukushima, they will be published on our website in the next few weeks. The plans relating to Fukushima should be available in the autumn, after the Chief Inspector’s lessons learnt report is published.
HSE 14th July 2011 more >>
GDA & Westinghouse
The HSE, now the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR), was on course to complete a meaningful GDA assessment for the two remaining designs by June 2011, although this has now been delayed pending an HSE evaluation of lessons from the Fukushima accident. In any case, a number of issues may still be outstanding at that point. In July 2011 the ONR and EA said that they expected to issue interim design acceptance confirmations (iDAC), and interim statements on design acceptability (iSODA) for the two designs by the end of the year. A full DAC and SODA may be issued for the UK EPR by the end of 2012, but Westinghouse decided to request a pause in the GDA process pending customer input to finalizing it.
World Nuclear Association 7th July 2011 more >>
Given that Westinghouse has asked us to pause our GDA, the Resolution Plans provided in response to our GDA Issues are based on elapsed time rather than containing fixed dates. We consider this is an acceptable position which does not affect the credibility of the plans.
GDA Progress Report to 30th June 2011 more >>
Carbon Floor Price
According to a new report from the Environmental Audit Committee the Treasury has undermined public trust in green taxes by appearing to use them as a revenue raising tool rather than a serious attempt to change environmentally damaging behaviour. The Treasury is missing an opportunity to support low-carbon investment by not ring-fencing receipts from the EU Emissions Trading System or the Carbon Floor Price. The Treasury should consider investing a proportion of these proceeds, perhaps through the Green Investment Bank, to support energy-intensive industries to take steps to reduce their carbon footprint, enabling them to remain in the UK, to be greener, and to be competitive. The Government’s definition of a ‘subsidy’ in relation to nuclear is not robust and does not hold up to scrutiny. The Carbon Floor Price will subsidise nuclear in the same way as renewable energy sources, which have no adverse environmental impacts, and nuclear will benefit the most from the Carbon Floor Price mechanism. As the Energy and Climate Change Committee recommends, the Government should recognise the issues related to new nuclear head-on and honestly.
Environmental Audit Committee 7th July 2011 more >>
Letter from Marianne Birkby in Times and Star 8th July: It has been said before that nuclear is not an energy strategy it is a PR strategy but this time it is official! We now know that the Department of Energy and Climate Change colluded with industry and the unwitting media to present the Fukushima disaster in as favourable light to the nuclear industry as possible. We have the spectacle of the new poster boy for nuclear new build, Mark Lynas spinning pronuclear articles in both the Daily Mail and the Guardian all tastes are covered! In Cumbria PR companies who specialise in crisis management are given lucrative contracts, all at the taxpayers expense. Eric Robson, Chair of Cumbria Tourism is also partner in the PR company specialising in ” how to handle problems that have the potential to generate negative media coverage.
Radiation Free Lakeland 8th July 2011 more >>
The NDA accounts for the future cost of the decommissioning and clean-up of its ‘legacy’ sites by way of the Nuclear Provision. The combination of increased Sellafield costs and decreased costs for the rest of the estate has resulted in a net increase of some £4 billion ($6.3 billion) to the Nuclear Provision for 2010-11, taking the total figure to just over £49 billion ($78 billion). The Nuclear Provision can be broken down as: the cost of decommissioning the Magnox sites at £8 billion ($12.7 billion); the costs of Springfields and Capenhurst of £1 billion ($1.6 billion); the cost of constructing and operating waste management facilities of £4 billion ($6.3 billion); the cost of decommissioning the Sellafield site at £32 billion ($50.7 billion); and the cost of decommissioning other sites at £4 billion ($6.3 billion).
World Nuclear News 12th July 2011 more >>
Officials from the Environment Agency met with local Councillors and officers, representatives of Green Audit and Stop Hinkley at Rivers House, Bridgwater on 1st July to discuss the allegations of radioactive contamination at the site earmarked at Hinkley Point for the proposed new nuclear power reactors by the French company EdF Energy.
Stop Hinkley 6th July 2011 more >>
With one of the worlds largest offshore wind farm being constructed off the Norfolk and Suffolk coast in the next few years and plans to build Sizewell C nuclear power plant gathering pace, council leaders in the region have pledged to work together to ensure that jobs created along the energy coast will stay in this region.
Norwich Evening News 6th July 2011 more >>
Nuclear Powers other tragedy communities living with uranium mining.
Earthworks June 2011 more >>
Niger, a major supplier of uranium to the French nuclear sector, wants a better price for its supplies, President Mahamadou Issoufou told state TV. Issoufou, who came to power after March elections that ended just over a year of military rule, said the poor desert state was determined to make the most of its resources.
Reuters 17th July 2011 more >>
Uranium from Africa: A joint report by WISE and SOMO, Amsterdam, June 2011, 104 p. [covers the situation in Namibia, South Africa, and the Central African Republic]
WISE June 2011 more >>
NRC Activates Incident Response Center for Tracking Events at the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Power Plant
Wikimedia 7th July 2011 more >>
The accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant has brought to light the cascading problem of spent nuclear fuel that threatens to overwhelm Japan’s nuclear power plants. Local governments are demanding that electric power companies remove the spent nuclear fuel from nuclear power plants, but plans for a reprocessing facility and an off-site storage facility are on hold. According to a survey by The Asahi Shimbun, while the nation’s 17 nuclear power plants are capable of holding 83,000 spent nuclear fuel assemblies in storage pools, 70 percent of the combined storage capacity has already been used.
Asahi 29th June 2011 more >>
Japan’s idle nuclear reactors will not be allowed to restart unless it is proven they can survive giant tsunamis and other extreme events, the country’s government has said. But with no timetable decided for two rounds of “stress tests” and electricity demand soon to reach its summer peak, concern is growing that Japan may experience power shortages at the hottest time of year.
Guardian 12th July 2011 more >>
A Mori IPSOS opinion poll just after Fukushima found that 67% of the French public opposed new nuclear projects, and the long-standing support for nuclear power in the French technocratic elite is showing signs of strain, following Germanys phase out plan. The share price of French reactor vendor Areva dropped by 25% in response to the German nuclear exit. It had already fallen 14% following the Japanese crisis. Then came the news of a new French government review of the future energy mix, which would look at all scenarios with total objectivity, in full transparency, including the complete phase out of nuclear by 2050 or even 2040. Reuters reported that an opinion poll in June found that showed three quarters of the French people interviewed wanted to withdraw from nuclear energy, against 22% who back the nuclear expansion programme.
Environmental Research Web 16th July 2011 more >>
The North East is ideally placed to take advantage of this revolution. It already has world-class businesses and universities undertaking groundbreaking projects and research in a range of relevant technologies including offshore and inshore wind power, biofuels and biomass, gasification, hydrogen fuel cells, CO² capture and tidal power.
The Journal 9th July 2011 more >>
Marine energy could supply almost 20 percent of the UK’s energy needs and be cost competitive with onshore wind and nuclear sources. This is according to a new report from the Carbon Trust, which sets out a three-year research and development programme for the marine energy sector. The document claims the best marine energy sites in the UK could produce energy at a comparable cost to that generated from onshore wind and nuclear sources, once cost reductions following the first gigawatt of installation come into force.
Low Carbon Economy 13th July 2011 more >>
A new analysis by the UKs Carbon Trust shows that with continued and targeted innovation the countrys best marine energy sites could generate electricity at costs comparable with nuclear and onshore wind as soon as 2025, and that in the future marine energy could provide a fifth of the UKs electricity needs.
Science Business 13th July 2011 more >>